07/05/2016 12:58PM

Animal Kingdom taking a break from Australian stud duties

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, whose first foals born in the Southern Hemisphere will race in the 2016-2017 season, will not be standing at stud in Australia this year in order to rest from dual hemisphere shuttle duties the past three years.

Animal Kingdom will remain at Darley in Lexington after he completes the current breeding season. The son of Leroidesanimaux had stood at Arrowfield in Scone, Australia, the past three years and will return to that farm for the 2017 breeding season.

“In a very competitive marketplace, the fourth season is always the most difficult,” said Jon Freyer, bloodstock manager of Arrowfield in a release on that farm’s website. “We have great faith in Animal Kingdom and have decided to take a longer-term view of his stallion career, so we’re resting him now, after he’s served three very big books in Kentucky and six consecutive seasons north and south.

“He’s an exceptional horse but, not surprisingly, as a Kentucky Derby winner he’s been more popular in the U.S., so it makes sense to rest him from his Australian duties.”

Animal Kingdom is represented by 77 foals in the 2014-2015 Southern Hemisphere crop and by 81 foals in the 2015-2016 Southern Hemisphere crop, according to The Jockey Club records. The 2016-2017 racing season in Australia begins Aug. 1.

In the Northern Hemisphere, Animal Kingdom has 106 foals in his first crop of 2015 and 93 registered in the 2016 crop, with more registrations likely as foals are reported by breeders to The Jockey Club. He stood the 2016 season at Darley for a fee of $35,000.

Animal Kingdom, bred and raced initially by Team Valor, won five of 12 starts, including the 2011 Kentucky Derby and 2013 Dubai World Cup, and earned $8,387,500. Arrowfield and Darley bought interests in the horse late in his racing career. He stood his first season at Arrowfield for the 2013 breeding season.

“Arrowfield and Darley are the majority owners of Animal Kingdom, and we’re firmly committed to him and we’re very pleased with his first progeny both here in Australia and in the United States,” Freyer said.

“His stock have good size and scope with a tremendous depth of girth and appeal as late season 2-year-olds and classic horses.”